Driver accused of hitting, killing man fueling car on I-77 to face judge

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — The driver accused of hitting and killing a man who was fueling his car alongside Interstate 77 near Huntersville on Saturday night is expected to appear in court Tuesday.

Troopers said Franklin Donaldson, 66, was tending to his vehicle around 9:30 p.m. in the right lane on I-77, just past Interstate 485, when he was hit by Terence Christopher Banks, who did not slow down.

Banks was charged with driving while impaired and felony death by motor vehicle.

Past coverage on I-77 construction area safety issues:

"You had all the bad elements that came together to, unfortunately, produce the fatal that happened," Trooper Ray Pierce said.

Officials blocked the northbound lanes near exits 19 and 20 for hours before reopening the road early Sunday.

"Saw him at the last minute -- tried to get over into the middle lane -- failed to get over soon enough -- struck the back left quarter and the subject pumping gas," Pierce said.

Troopers said the crash happened in a construction zone, where there were no emergency shoulders.

"Put your hazards on and vacate that vehicle, call *47 or 911,” Pierce said. “Let us know that your vehicle is there, and it is unattended."

Channel 9 has uncovered a dramatic spike in crashes in the toll zone, most of them being minor.

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